All of Me

All of Me

Dear Cinephiles, There’s one moment in the hysterical “All of Me” (1984) directed by the late Carl Reiner that is absolutely jaw-dropping. You have to see it for yourself. I beg to wonder if it’s not one of the best sequences in a comedy. Steve Martin is on a sidewalk...
Bend it Like Beckham

Bend it Like Beckham

Dear Cinephiles, I love a feel-good movie as much as anybody – but I prefer them to be nutritious. Let’s say I want my escapism to make me think as well as feel. Gurinder Chada’s exceptionally pleasing “Bend it Like Beckham” checks all the marks. It was that rare...
The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night

Dear Cinephiles, If you’re like me, attempting to stay optimistic and counting your blessings – any bit of positive news helps. Lo and behold I sat down to watch “The Vast of Night” this Saturday night – purely for distraction – and I got this rush of excitement –...
Sunday Bloody Sunday

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Dear Cinephiles, Today marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that took place in 1969. They are viewed as the catalyst for the gay liberation movement in the US and the world. Consequently, I sat to watch “Sunday Bloody Sunday” last night. Director John...
Mulan

Mulan

Dear SBIFF Family, For this week’s Family Fun Film we learn about inner-strength and honor in Mulan. With the activity guide in hand, watch Mulan take hold of her destiny as she risks everything to bring honor to her family and become one of the greatest warriors...
Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain

Dear Cinephiles, It’s been 15 years since the release of “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking romances I’ve seen. Just like Romeo and Juliet – and Jack and Rose – Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist are star-crossed lovers. Instead of...
The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

Dear Cinephiles, “The Handmaiden” (2016) is a lush and erotic thriller from Korea – that deals with colonialism and its relationship to pornography and feminism. Did I catch your attention? We’re talking high art here – but yes the film is titillating and shocking at...
The Crying Game

The Crying Game

Dear Cinephiles, Recently I polled my colleagues at work about whether they knew the secret in “The Crying Game,” and I was surprised to find out how many of them had not seen this haunting film released in 1992. And because of that fact, I will not reveal it – for I...
Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Dear Cinephiles, 25 years ago, I couldn’t appreciate “Philadelphia.” I’d had too many close friends of mine die of AIDS – and there was so much homophobia and misinformation. As I watched the film, I appreciated the effort yet I had been wanting so much more. I was...
Lilies of the Field

Lilies of the Field

Dear Cinephiles, Sydney Poitier became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for “Lilies of the Field.” It is one of the gentlest movies I’ve seen in a long time – and I mean that in the best possible way. The film – simple...
Moana

Moana

Hello SBIFF Family, Fellow Voyagers, time to journey beyond the reef in this week’s Family Fun Film Moana. Explore our activity guide and sail along with Moana as she ventures across the ocean to find the demigod Maui and help save her people by returning the...
12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Dear Cinephiles, “Slavery is an evil that should befall none,” is spoken by Solomon Northup – the main character in the powerful “12 Years a Slave.” Last night, on the eve of Juneteenth – the national commemoration of the official ending of slavery in the United...
Mudbound

Mudbound

Dear Cinephiles, “This land that would never be theirs. They worked until they sweated. They sweated until they bled. They bled until they died. Died with the dirt of this same 200 acres under their fingernails. Died clawing at the hard, brown back that would never be...
Boyz n the Hood

Boyz n the Hood

Dear Cinephiles, “If you want to talk about guns, why is it that there’s a gun shop on almost every corner in this community? I’ll tell you why. For the same reason that there’s a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why? They want us to kill...
Hollywood Shuffle

Hollywood Shuffle

Dear Cinephiles, In 1987, comedian Robert Townsend wrote, directed and acted in a satire of African American stereotypes in cinema with “Hollywood Shuffle.” There’s a sting to the spoof. Starting in the silent film era, Hollywood portrayed blacks in insensitive ways...
Loving

Loving

Dear Cinephiles, Loving v. Virginia was the landmark civil rights decision by the US Supreme Court which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen US states on June 12, 1967. The case involved Mildred Loving – a woman of color – and her white...
Imitation of Life

Imitation of Life

Dear Cinephiles, In the 1950s, Douglas Sirk made films for Hollywood that were great commercial successes but were dismissed by critics because they were considered flimsy melodramas that were geared towards women – they were thought of as “women’s pictures.” With...
The Lion King

The Lion King

Dear SBIFF Family, Gather the family and sit your furry tails down to learn from the most carefree duo about the HAKUNA MATATA Life in this week’s family fun film The Lion King! Along with our educational thought-provoking activity guide, follow the adventures...
Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods

Dear Cinephiles, “DA 5 BLOODS” – which starts playing on Netflix today – is the best movie of 2020, and it is as incendiary, funny, exhilarating and mad – as it is artistically superb and rich. It demands immediate viewing and repeated viewings...
Black Girl (La noire de…)

Black Girl (La noire de…)

Dear Cinephiles, “Black Girl” is an exemplary classic from 1966 that deserves our attention. Directed by Ousmane Sembène, it is considered the first major film produced by an African filmmaker. The film won the prestigious Jean Vigo for its artistic originality....
The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Dear Cinephiles, The bold and powerful film “The Hate U Give” begins with a startling scene. A black family is having “The Talk.” For white families, “the talk” is the rite of passage discussion about the birds and the bees, but for black families is how to behave if...
What Happened, Miss Simone?

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Dear Cinephiles, “I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself. That to me is my duty and at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I can’t help but be involved. Young people,...
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Dear Cinephiles, “The Last Black Man In San Francisco” (2019) is a remarkable film that deserves your attention. It’s one of the richest experiences I’ve had watching a film in a while. There’s something exhilarating in seeing something new in cinema, and director Joe...
In The Heat Of The Night

In The Heat Of The Night

Dear Cinephiles, “In the Heat of the Night” (1967) is still a dazzling and powerful movie that is as pertinent and imperative as ever. The movie is a thriller about a murder in a small town in Mississippi – that forces a black detective from Philadelphia to join...
The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

Dear SBIFF Family, There’s magic in the air! And fun! Have a ball with this week’s family fun film The Princess and The Frog. Dream big with Tiana then learn trivia, bake yummy themed cookies, and get crafty with our activity guide. “If you do your...
I Am Not Your Negro

I Am Not Your Negro

Dear Cinephiles, If you were my student, I’d require you right away to see the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” (2017). This is one of the most urgent and timely films I have seen. Using James Baldwin’s writings, “I Am Not Your Negro” guides us through black history...
Moonlight

Moonlight

Dear Cinephiles, “Moonlight” is the best movie released in the past ten years. I have loved this movie since the moment I saw it at the Telluride Film Festival in 2014. I have taught it every semester since. Last night, I sat and watched it again for during trying...